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Hello, it's me again. Sincerely, discouraged and weary.

I should have. He should be. They should do. How many times a day do these words fill my heart and spill out of my mouth? Too many. Way too many. The long days, the even longer nights. I thought they would be over by now. My expectations were we would be on kid number 4 by now. My expectations were all my kids would sleep through the night by year one. My expectations were for a bigger house, more money, more energy, less defiance, more love and peace. More laughter and way less yelling. This mama gig, ya, I never imagined it would ever be this hard. The constant needs, the demanding and demeaning and oh so discouraging. Yes, I expected so much more of the positive and so much less of the negative garbage that's seeping into my pore's and stealing my joy; making my words stink of the disgusting rot that's spilling over into my thoughts and attitudes. I'm exhausted. Deep in my soul, down right depleted by the constant never ending wants and needs of those who call me mama.

But this is my normal. I wake for the 3rd time last night to impatient screams for mom, I will myself to get out of the bed and not cry and scream myself that this is just not fair!!! "Is it over yet God? When will it be over? He is almost 4! Please make this end!" This has been my wrestling with God night after night for years. Waking already defeated, I begin the day with defiant battle after battle. As if these kids are trying to break my very will to live! Round after round we go. Ding ding ding. My kids won again. Or did they? Did they win or did Satan just get his way in my home? Isn't that his goal? To steal, kill and destroy? To make me raving mad with discontentment and discouragement so that the anger and strife continues to perpetuate itself in me and my home? Is the issue really with my kids or is the issue with me?

As I find myself crying out to God today expressing that I feel completely and utterly defeated and helpless I hear him gently whisper that helpless and defeated is perfect soil for him to do his work. I try to be receptive to this thought. That even if I can't see the whole picture God is seeing of my life, I can trust him with the blueprints. I can trust that at just the right time will show me the next step so that I will not be crushed under what feels like an unbearable weight of responsibility that I feel so ill-equipped to handle. It's moments later I feel that gentle tug again reminding me of the verse I read yesterday, do not sin by letting anger control you. At surface level these words alone are convicting enough. But as I dug deeper the word for anger really applies to any strong emotion. Some examples I found were, rage, disquieted, agitated, perturbed, fear. I know on a daily I feel any range of those emotions and they often spill out onto my family. And the control word, its most basic definition is, to determine the behavior of. Ouch. How often am I letting my strong emotions stemming from my unmet expectations and discouragement, determine my behavior? A behavior that's often not Christ like at all and definitely full of sin.

As I recall all these thoughts to mind, I'm convicted again that this battle isn't between me and my kids. It's between me and Satan and I'm letting him win. I know I stand in victory, but I'm not living it. I'm allowing the battle to be what I see right in front of me, what I feel and what I hear, instead of the truth the Holy Spirit speaks to me. God promises that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth and the truth he is revealing to me now, is that maybe the answer I'm seeking is not in changing my kids or circumstances, but in changing me. My responses, my lack of faith, my bad attitudes stemming from my Debbie downer outlook on life, and myself control that needs desperate attention. Yes, it's me that needs changing. Satan would love for my focus to always been on the lack, to be on what isn't being fixed right here and right now with my kids and my prayers for change that seem to go unanswered. It's lately I've been realizing that so often we mistakenly think our prayers are unanswered just because we didn't get the answer we like. This answered prayer is much different than I expected and has the potential to push me to see one big failure stamped on my day and another insurmountable tomorrow, or it can propel me to surrender my desires for Gods desires. Which is always a better version of me that looks so much more like him. And I have a sneaking suspicious that if this is the answer God is giving me, then he will most definitely take care of the rest. Even if my kids never change, I'm pretty confident that me working on me will change the perspective of how I view the rest. And in the end, that has the potential to change everything.

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